FanPost

Joe Burrow trade for Saints could be costly, in multiple ways.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Never in many a lifetime, or potentially ever before have the Louisiana State Tigers had such a dynamic playmaker at the quarterback position, and even less have they had one so beloved by Tiger faithful (and, admittedly, the whole country—minus a state or two) as they do in Joe "Burreaux" Burrow.

Burrow has taken the nation by storm this season, throwing for a national-best 55 touchdowns and second-best 5,208 yards, and just recently tore apart the Oklahoma Sooners in a college football semifinal matchup. Burrow had a massive 493 yards, with a 74.4% completion percentage, and was responsible for seven—yes, seven touchdowns.

That brings us to why we’re here: ultimately, it was inevitable that we’d be having this conversation.

Whether or not they willingly admit it—one question has been on the minds of New Orleans Saints fans who also share that affiliation with the in-state Tigers: is there any way that the Saints, who hail from Joe Burrow’s new-home by adoption, steal the talented young prospect from the grip of the Cincinatti Bengals who hail from his original home of Ohio?

Much to the misfortune of Saints’ fans, the answer to that question is complicated.

To one end, yes, the New Orleans Saints could trade up with the Cincinatti Bengals. But the next pertinent question remains a simple one: What would it take?

Saints fans from 1999 or before might want to skip the next three paragraphs—it’s going to bring back some bad memories.

In the 1999 NFL Draft the New Orleans Saints, led then by Mike Ditka, made one of the biggest trades for one player in history, and the one made since 1959, when they sent every pick in their possession from that draft to the Washington Redskins for the No. 5 pick in the draft, used to take Ricky Williams.

The payout for that choice wasn’t great.

The Saints went 3-13 in that season, and Williams struggled with injuries. Ditka and then-general manager Bill Kuharich were then fired, and you’ve got to think that the Saints would do just about anything to avoid that kind of situation again, especially after such sustained success in recent years. At this point, even mediocrity seems like failure to many fans.

However, it’s not too often that a team finds themselves in this kind of situation. The Green Bay Packers’ situation with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers comes to mind when thinking about the (potential) passing of the torch from future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, to the talented Burrow.

Even now, it’s a bit closer to home, with the aforementioned affection Louisiana football fans feel for Joe Burrow. Both Brees and Burrow wear the same No. 9, and both are leaders of their various Louisiana teams.

With that in mind, we have to go back to the question—just how much would it take for the Saints to trade up to draft Joe Burrow?

Well, that all depends on where he goes in the draft. Unfortunately for fans of all quarterback-needy NFL teams besides the Bengals, it’s more likely than not that Cincinnati will draft the young man from Athens, Ohio with the No. 1 overall pick. Thus, in any likely trade scenario, the Saints would have to trade from their draft spot—which could potentially be as low as 32—to the No. 1 pick. In the Ricky Williams trade, the Saints moved up "only" 7 spots in the draft, from 12th to 5th in the first round. Obviously then, the cost would be even higher for them to move up to grab Burrow with the first overall pick considering they would be moving up from - at worst(/best) - the late 20s in the first round of the 2020 draft. As another point of reference, in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Saints moved up from 27th overall to the 14th overall selection to select Marcus Davenport by trading a 2019 first round pick and swapping 5th round selections.

To recap, using the Williams trade as an example, to move up from 12th to 5th, the Saints would need to pay:

  • 2020 1st
  • 2020 3rd (the 2020 Saints, like the 1997 Saints, do not have a 2nd round pick)
  • 2020 4th
  • 2020 5th
  • 2020 6th
  • 2021 1st
  • 2021 3rd
But the 2020 Saints are without a 7th round draft selection which would have been used in the Williams example, so we should add a 2021 6th round pick. But there's also no way the Saints starting draft position is 12th in 2020. Using the Davenport trade, as a baseline of what it takes to trade from the bottom third of the first round to the middle of the first, we can add a future 1st round pick and a swap of fifth round picks. However, the 2021 1st is already included, so we'll need to do a 2022 1st and a 2021 2nd to help make up the difference and account for the 5th rounder. What's that make the total hypothetical price?

  • 2020 1st
  • 2020 3rd (the 2020 Saints, like the 1997 Saints, do not have a 2nd round pick)
  • 2020 4th
  • 2020 5th
  • 2020 6th
  • 2021 1st
  • 2021 2nd
  • 2021 3rd
  • 2021 6th
  • 2022 1st
What's the cost for Joe Burrow for the Saints? It likely starts with three first round picks plus crippling your draft capital for the next three years.

Still interested?

This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.